The Dallas Cowboys secondary has been much maligned over the years. It has consistently been looked at as the team’s weakest area, despite the obvious talent that exists on the roster. With the 2020 NFL season a little over a week away, however, the third level of the Cowboys defense has several players nursing injuries, and they’re all entering contract years as members of the organization’s 2017 draft class.
Xavier Woods has been the team’s starting free safety for several seasons now. He may not be Jamal Adams or Earl Thomas, but he’s been solid and has continuously improved every year he’s been in the NFL. During the Cowboys Blue-White scrimmage last Sunday, however, Woods left with a groin injury.
Cowboys starting safety Xavier Woods to locker room. An athletic trainer did not escort him. Hopefully a good sign. https://t.co/5q8sQMg4BA
Mike McCarthy when asked about injuries suffered during tonight’s Cowboys practice to safety Xavier Woods and WR Ventell Bryant: “Both exams seemed to be not of high concern.”
Fortunately, though, it doesn’t appear Wood’s injury is serious. Veteran safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was brought in during free agency to be the starter opposite Woods, was released on Thursday. With the safety position still being sorted out, it’s paramount that a regular starter like Woods is available once the season begins next Sunday.
Chidobe Awuzie is looking to bounce back from a tough 2019 campaign where he continuously struggled to get his head around in coverage. In training camp, he’s been getting work not only at cornerback but also safety, reminiscent of his days at Colorado. He was having a good camp until suffering a knee/quadricep injury on August 24.
Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie exited practice today after appearing to tweak his right leg on this interception. And indeed, that is all it was. “He is good,” source said. “Just a tweak.” Awuzie, in contract year, also logged a pass breakup vs. Amari Cooper before exit. pic.twitter.com/fntTbaIX6b
Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie went through parts of individual drills for the first time since suffering a knee/quadriceps injury in practice. Safety Xavier Woods (groin) and cornerback Jourdan Lewis (ankle) are not practicing and neither was right tackle… https://t.co/G0tWUHafok
Awuzie is projected to be one of the Cowboys starting corners opposite rookie Trevon Diggs once the season starts. He returned in a limited fashion on Thursday for the first time since the injury going through individual drills. Getting him back in some sort of rhythm before Week 1 will be critical going forward.
Jourdan Lewis, one of the most talented players in the Cowboys secondary, is looking to secure a role as the team’s top slot corner as he battles Anthony Brown. On August 20, much to the Cowboys dismay, Lewis went down with an ankle sprain and hasn’t practiced since.
Slot cornerback Jourdan Lewis went off with an apparent left ankle injury suffered in two-minute work. He was replaced in the slot by Anthony Brown and Daryl Worley. Lewis appeared to get tangled up with tight end Blake Jarwin on a deep pass and landed… https://t.co/SV0B67ioe6
Although Lewis is no longer wearing the walking boot he was recently sporting Head Coach Mike McCarthy said not to expect him to practice this week, which calls into question his availability for the Cowboys Week 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.
None of these injuries are expected to have long-term effects, which is an encouraging sign. As mentioned earlier, the backend is the weakest area of the Cowboys defense and they’ll need all hands on deck when the season kicks off September 13.